Savoy Theatre - Glace Bay , Nova Scotia

"It is not how much you do, but how much Love you put into the doing that matters."

Mother Teresa

Cake designed and donated by Harold's Bakery, Cape Breton, NS


In speaking to the Glace Bay launch of the Paula Gallant Awareness Campaign, one word comes to mind - “WOW”! For anybody who was at the Savoy Theatre prior to it being decorated you can appreciate the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when the doors opened to welcome Paula's many friends. The evening, which stands as proof that many small acts of love and kindness can accomplish great things, represents the culmination of many months of hard work, late hours, laughter, joy, tears, friendships both tested and forged, and so much more. To count the individuals who helped make this night the huge success that it was is really a daunting task, as everyone involved certainly contributed something of themselves to the event. And there was no venue more fitting than the foyer of the Savoy Theatre which was transformed into a sea of purple and “all things Paula”.

On her website, Paula's Place is described as “the room that love built" but on Dec. 5, 2007 the Savoy Theatre truly was "the room that love filled". What a great reflection of the magnitude of one person's lasting impression. Throughout the room pieces of each of us resonated against the flicker of the candles and a backdrop of love.

Special thanks go out to our honour guard for the evening, Constable Tony Dickens of the RCMP. His presence was affirmation to the level of commitment which has been put forth in bringing resolution to Paula’s case. As well, thank you, thank you to Jim MacNeil and Barb Stetter who provided the music for the event; they were the crowning jewel in our evening. And last but certainly not least I speak to the many friends, family members and acquaintances who attended the launch, you were the finishing detail in our event. I would like to make specific mention of two of Paula’s childhood friends, Susanne O’Brien and Stephen MacNeil.

Susanne, spoke with such strength and determination and yet the tenderness, love and emotion she carries in her heart were worn on her sleeve that evening, to be shared with all. Her stories of Paula were so heart warming; she truly is blessed to have them as cherished memories which will forever remain a blanket of comfort.

In a room full of mother’s, it was difficult not to comfort Stephen, as he so passionately shared with us his lifelong connection with Paula both emotionally and physically, having lived on Coady Street “in houses # 6 and #7”. The emotion he displayed was raw, it was tender and it was bittersweet. His love for Paula was real.

Thank you, Susanne and Stephen, you were the voice for those of us who could not speak and you did it with class, much love and in the true spirit of friendship. Paula was blessed to have had such great friends.

Representing Cape Breton Transition House, Bonnie Nicholson spoke to the fact that much remains to be done in the fight for violence against women, noting that Nova Scotia proudly wears the purple ribbon, the symbol for violence against women. And although she spoke to and for victims of violence she said it best when she said that tonight, she was there for Paula.

Heartfelt words were delivered by Paula’s sister, Lynn, whose voice resonated with determination, strength, love and conviction; the voice of a sister who was overcome with gratitude for the love which hung like particles of dust in the room.

The evening was certainly an emotional roller coaster as family and friends morphed from uproarious laughter to silent tears and then back again. At the conclusion of the speeches our glasses were raised, our hearts were full and our resolve was ever cemented.

This was a night to celebrate a beautiful sister, mother, wife and friend. And the message which greeted people as they passed through the doors was “enter all with a happy heart into this room which love filled”.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

Excerpt taken from “Blessings” by John O’Donohue

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